SR-71 Flight Manual, The Official Pilot's Handbook, Declassified and Expanded with Commentary.

Author:Taylor, Leslie C.
Position:Book review
 
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SR-71 Flight Manual, The Official Pilot's Handbook, Declassified and Expanded with Commentary. By Col Richard H. Graham, USAF (Ret). Minneapolis MN: Voyageur Press, 2016. Diagrams. Graphs. Illustrations. Photographs. Appendices. Pp. 1058. $75.00 ISBN: 978-0-7603-5174-1

This is a huge paperback book: 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. x 1 7/8 in. thick, weighing nearly three pounds. The manual, per se, is 995 pages long, and the commentary is 63 pages. One is inclined to ask why you'd buy this book since you aren't going to fly an SR-71? The answer, of course, is to learn more about the SR-71. However, since it actually is the pilot's manual, it is not well constructed to provide general information easily. Consequently, Graham's commentary section is very important for providing background and context for the actual manual.

Graham graduated from the University of Akron in 1964 and has two master's degrees from Pepperdine University. He graduated from Air War College in 1982. He flew the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird from 1974-1981. In 1981 he took command of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron and, in 1987, became commander of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB. He is the author of five previous books on the SR-71.

Before discussing Graham's commentary, I should point out that the manual is actually the manual for the SR-71B trainer that is available for free at https://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/manual/, exactly as printed in this book. Except for the 19 added pages concerning differences between the SR-71B and the SR-71A, this book is also the pilot's manual for the SR-71A. As in the on-line version, the book's reproduction of halftone pictures is wretched. They look like something that has been Xeroxed too many times. Line drawings and simple graphs are quite good. Graphs drawn on...

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